The Monday Night Football schedulers have had a rotten run this season with a mixture of mismatches and damp squibs. Even when they finally thought they'd uncovered a gem last week - an "AFC Championship Preview" no less - the New England Patriots bulldozered the Houston Texans in the king of anti-climaxes.
This week's two protagonists haven't had much better luck. Yet while the season may already be over for the Tennessee Titans, at least the New York Jets are still on the fringes of play-off contention. In fact, considering their respective records (Titans 4-9; Jets 6-7), it's mildly surprising to note that the Vegas line rates Tennessee as the clear favourite.
The reason for such marginal superiority (2pts), of course, is the Titans' home advantage in Nashville. Well, that and star running back, Chris Johnson, who has finally kicked in the thrusters after a sluggish start to the campaign. Johnson has actually doubled his output in the second half of the season (301 yards in his opening six games, as opposed to 736 in his last seven) and poses the lone stumbling block to a Jets defense which has struggled to stop the ground assault.
But the Jets D has actually stepped up with improved performances in recent weeks. Granted, both those efforts came against the lowly Arizona Cardinals and the Jacksonville Jaguars - hardly a compelling case for the defense. However, the Titans are also probing the depths of 22nd in the NFL for Offensive Scoring, so perhaps the Jets can continue to thrash these whipping boys while they're down.
Not that Mark Sanchez has ever been readily associated with thrashing anyone. The New York quarterback remains the absolute embodiment of underwhelming - a fact underlined by the bizarre clamour for the return of Ted Tebow. The Southpaw has "rehabed" well from some broken ribs to the point where coach Rex Ryan has confirmed that he may possibly reintroduce Tebow this Monday in some maverick "wildcat" formations.
Gadget plays aside, though, Sanchez is the lesser of two evils and Ryan knows it. The embattled coach finds himself stuck between a proverbial rock and a hard place in the Big Apple, but a third consecutive victory will set his record back to 50-50 and give him a sniff of the postseason and rescuing his career. And with wildcard rivals Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Indy all losing again on Sunday, AFC miracles can happen.
On the other side of the ball, the Titans are also playing for Mike Munchak's job. Whether anyone cares, though, is a moot point. So as slim as the Jets' chances are, they do have the edge on recent form and unity of purpose. They have a good recent history at LP Filed too, and Sanchez and Co only need keep it simple by cutting out the basic errors.
Recommended Bets: Back New York Jets on the Moneyline @ 2.1211/10 or better Back New York Jets on the First-Half Moneyline @ 2.01/1 or better
Back Over 19.5 Total New York Jets Points @ 1.9210/11 or better