NASHVILLE — Rex Ryan is taking nothing for granted, not the way this season has gone for the New York Jets.
The Jets still have hope that a favorable schedule will give them a chance at the playoffs even after a 3-6 start. Ryan, though, is taking it one game at a time, beginning with the woeful Tennessee Titans tonight.
"I know we have three games left in the regular season," Ryan said. "But every bit of our energy is focused on this particular game. Whatever is in the past, we can't dwell on or look at or whatever. We're just focused right now on one game."
The Jets (6-7) head to Nashville having won two straight and three of their last four to put themselves a game out of the AFC's No. 6 seed. After the Titans (4-9), Jets finish out at home against San Diego (5-8) and at Buffalo (5-8).
"Guarantees are no good," Jets safety Yeremiah Bell said. "As a team, you've just got to take care of business. Talk is cheap. You've still got to go out; you've still got to play the game. As long as we keep that one-game-mentality approach, we'll be fine."
The Jets hit a low point when they were routed 49-19 on Thanksgiving night by New England to fall to 4-7. But they rebounded by beating a pair of losing teams, first Arizona and then Jacksonville last week. They didn't look good doing it, but at this point a win is a win.
Jets defensive end Mike DeVito said one loss can feel like the end of the world, but a couple of wins helps things out.
"It's kind of the way the atmosphere is around here and you have to recognize that and realize that the worst thing you can do is, when things like that are happening is to pack it in and really believe that," DeVito said. "Either way, you just have to continue each week to be consistent and get better."
Tennessee blew its chance to stay in the playoff mix or even salvage a winning season after owner Bud Adams put the entire franchise on notice that he wanted improvement. The Titans have lost three straight and five of their last six, most recently after blowing a 13-point halftime and falling 27-23 to Indianapolis.
Coach Mike Munchak is hoping the prime-time atmosphere brings out the best in his young Titans. They beat Pittsburgh 26-23 in prime time on Oct. 11, and this is the franchise's first Monday night game in Nashville since 2008.
"We know we're a lot better than 4-9. I know people don't know much about us," Munchak said. "They haven't seen us play other than the Pittsburgh game, which we won when we were on national TV. We want to win and play well, and having it on national TV just adds to it, so maybe people can see really what we're about."
The Titans haven't won since beating Miami 37-3 on Nov. 11. They are embracing the chance to spoil the Jets' playoff hopes.
"That's all we can do from here on out," Titans cornerback Jason McCourty said. "We want to win our last three games, and we're going to do everything we possibly can to do that."
The Titans have shown signs of improvement over the past month, especially on third-down defense, even though they still rank next to last in the NFL allowing 29.9 points per game. They sacked Andrew Luck four times and hit him repeatedly in holding the Colts to 269 total yards.
Tennessee also may have middle linebacker Colin McCarthy back from a concussion that kept him out the past two games.
The Jets brought back receiver Braylon Edwards to help an injury-depleted group and a passing offense ranked 30th in the NFL. Ryan expects Edwards to play, giving quarterback Mark Sanchez a familiar target.
Sanchez isn't sure how quickly they will get back on the same page.
"We'll see," Sanchez said.
The last meeting in Nashville was 2008, when Brett Favre helped the Jets end Tennessee's 10-game win streak to open the season. The Titans have beaten the Jets only once since moving to Tennessee in 1997 with New York winning four of the past five games, including 24-17 on Sept. 27, 2009.
The game is sold out, though how many fans actually show up in the seats remains to be seen after thousands stayed away from their last game. Munchak said he hopes fans turn out and show their support.
Chris Johnson, who became the eighth player in NFL history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first five seasons to start his career, said the Titans know they have to keep playing hard.
"I'm sure the microscope is on every single person for whatever odd reason, if it's to keep a job here for the coaches or as a player to continue to be on this team next year or even if you're not, just to put things on film for other teams to see," Johnson said. "So I'm sure everybody still have something to play for."