EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Just how much did the Giants'
34-31 overtime win over Atlanta help the team's psyche?
"Frankly, winning like that makes it easier to do
everything," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after his team went through a rare
Monday afternoon practice in preparation to face the Denver Broncos on
Thanksgiving night. "Even the coffee tasted better this morning."
The overtime win snapped a four-game losing streak Sunday
for the Giants (6-4), who had won their first five games. It kept them in the
playoff chase in a three-way donnybrook for NFC East supremacy with
front-running Dallas (7-3) and Philadelphia (6-4). Both teams come to Giants
Stadium in successive games after the Giants return home from Denver.
Coughlin said he was pleased with the way his team
rebounded physically from the Atlanta game.
Running back Brandon Jacobs, who missed most of the
second half and overtime with a leg injury, practiced and told Coughlin he was
fine. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot, ankle) and linebacker Antonio Pierce
(bulging disk in his neck) were the only Giants not to practice.
"We came through it in pretty good shape," Coughlin said.
"They worked their way through some of the soreness and got in a full run and
"There is some benefit of playing this game. Sure, the
demands are great, playing two games in four days. But the players can do it if
they set their mind to it. We're keeping the same basic schedule, just moving it
up a few days."
Coughlin said the high altitude in Denver is always a
concern for his players, especially on short rest.
"There is always thought of that and I know players have
had difficult times with it," Coughlin said. "But we have a procedure to follow,
staying hydrated, lots of rest, no alcohol, with oxygen on the sideline if
necessary. But in all the years of coaching, I've never had a real issue with
it. We expect to play well. It's a fine line with the quick turnaround, but
we'll be fine."
Coughlin's players agreed.
"It's very difficult, because we're doing something
we're not used to doing," said defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. "That's just the
nature of the game. But we also have a chance to turn it around and get right
back out there after a win. It makes a big difference getting the win. We needed
it. It puts us in a good physical and mental state to get another win,
especially coming off a couple of losses."
Eli Manning is coming off a career-high 384-yard passing
performance, one where he also threw for three touchdowns, his best showing in
more than a month.
"It's always good to come back off a win," Manning said.
"We were all enthused about coming here today and we're ready to play on
Thanksgiving. I feel good. It was a big win for us. It's good for us to have a
tight game and find a way to win those tight games.
"We're in real good spirits and that's good after a
couple of tough losses. We know we have a short week, but we need to have
everyone keep doing their jobs."
Cornerback Terrell Thomas believes that the short week
doesn't help either the Giants or the Broncos, who were beaten by San Diego on
Sunday and know all about losing streaks: Denver has lost four in a row.
"It's definitely a disadvantage for both teams," Thomas
said. "But it's a big game for us and it's a big game for them. We had to get
back on track Sunday and we did that. It's not easy to be in here on a Monday. I
don't think any of us remember what that is like. But we got the soreness out
today and we just have to stay on track and take care of business properly."