The New York Giants just escaped their own month of misery. So they understand the seething frustration and loss of poise in Denver, where sideline shoves, the head coach's cockiness and players-only meetings are all the buzz.

The Broncos (6-4) have lost four in a row and blown what was once a 3½-game division cushion. The Giants (6-4) snapped their own four-game slide, which cost them the NFC East lead, by beating Atlanta in overtime Sunday.

The two second-place teams meet Thursday night at Invesco Field as the Broncos host their first Thanksgiving game since 1963 in the AFL.

Denver is at a low point following a 32-3 thrashing Sunday at the hands of the San Diego Chargers, who supplanted them atop the AFC West. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels exchanged heated words with some of San Diego's linebackers during warmups, then watched his team come undone with silly penalties and an ugly sideline spat while losing its fourth straight game.

Although McDaniels has declined to discuss his own trash talking with the opponent, he did say he's an emotional coach with a team full of emotional players who need to keep their poise.

"You can't be all over the place emotionally," Denver defensive leader Brian Dawkins concurred. "That doesn't usually lead to a lot of success."

Dawkins called a players-only meeting Tuesday to get some things off his chest.

"It felt great," running back Correll Buckhalter said. "I think we needed it to get all our players on the same page."

Cornerback Champ Bailey said some attitudes needed adjusting but he won't know until Thursday night if the "no coaches allowed" meeting did any good.

"I was fairly encouraged just to talk to some of my teammates," Bailey said. "But what's going to encourage me more is if we play better. It's not really what people say, it's what they do."

And lately, the Broncos have been talking a good game but playing bad ones.

Their offense has been stuck in low gear, their defense is springing leaks, especially against the run, and their special teams are dreadful.

Sounds a lot like the Giants before they snapped out of their funk.

Defensive end Osi Umenyiora said New York's first win in 42 days made it feel as if a brick wall was lifted off their backs.

"We were getting killed around here," he said. "Coming to work wasn't as much fun as it used to be when you were winning. Nobody likes to lose. We are accustomed to winning as of late. It was very, very important and we are happy to get that done."

As much as players talk about putting games behind them and moving on to the next opponent, streaks both have a way of lingering.

When you win, Giants quarterback Eli Manning said, "everybody is smiling a little bit easier and they are excited about the win and how everything is going. When you start losing you get down a little bit and things aren't as enjoyable. People aren't laughing as easy. You are still practicing the same, preparing the same. You go through the same steps. It's not as fun when you're not winning."

"So it is good to get that win and get that sense of that winning feeling back in the locker room, ... kind of see the smiles after the game after a long stretch where you haven't won a game."

The Broncos are envious. They haven't won since Oct. 19.