Neil Best Newsday columnist Neil Best

Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, then returned in 1985. His SportsWatch column debuted in 2005.

Last week at this time, we had a baseball season and a football season. This week, we have . . . Islanders vs. Rangers on Thursday night at the Garden.

That’s not a consolation prize for the puckheads among us, but for the rest of you, it’s quite a downer. And it happened abruptly.

If the Mets had solved Madison Bumgarner last Wednesday, we would be looking forward to Game 4 of the NLDS (if necessary) at Citi Field tonight against America’s darlings from Chicago. But no.

God created football for situations such as these, to fill the post-baseball gap in the calendar. Instead, the gap is on the verge of becoming a chasm.

The Jets last won Sept. 15 and the Giants on Sept. 18. They have combined to go 0-6 since then and are barreling down the path to a fifth consecutive season with neither metropolitan-area team in the playoffs.

New York fans under 40 never have seen a stretch like it, but trust me: The 1970s happened, which is why the area remains full of Baby Boomers who grew up rooting for the Cowboys, Steelers, Dolphins and Raiders, and still do.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

(I confess to being a Redskins man for a while there, but I got over it.)

Did Bill Belichick put a hex on New York-area football after losing Super Bowl XLVI to the Giants and being consistently annoyed by the Jets’ Rex Ryan?

Has the soulless gray hulk that is MetLife Stadium finally crushed everyone’s spirits?

Grim it is. But not hopeless. It is too soon for that, at least for the Giants, who with a victory over the Ravens could get back to .500 while waiting for the Cowboys and Eagles to return to Earth, and with manageable opponents ahead.

But Eli Manning looks too old, Ben McAdoo looks too young, Odell Beckham Jr. looks too volatile and everyone else looks too mediocre. Manning’s prime continues to ebb, and he is on the brink of a seventh non-playoff season in eight years.

@NewsdaySports

Meanwhile, a guy drafted the same year, Ben Roethlisberger, surgically carved up the Jets’ pass rush-free defense Sunday as the Steelers romped, 31-13.

The Jets have had a merciless schedule, true. But 1-4 is 1-4, and 1-5 is a trip to Arizona away.

Making things worse, their quarterback is 33, their top receiver is 32, their top running back is 30, their star center is 32, their top tackler is 32 and their future Hall of Fame cornerback is 31. So you might say winning now is important.

To further complicate matters, the clock is ticking on coach Todd Bowles feeling pressure to take a gander at one of his three non-Ryan Fitzpatrick quarterbacks, with an eye on 2017 and beyond.

Tensions seem to be rising, even if four veteran players who spoke on conference calls with reporters Monday preached calm and unity.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

After saying the Jets “expect to be killed out in the streets and killed in the media,” Brandon Marshall said the key figures in the locker room will refuse to give up and will bring discouraged teammates along.

So to review: Both teams have inexperienced coaches who have failed to solve the problems on the sides of the ball that are their alleged specialties, both have aging quarterbacks in a league trending toward developing young ones and both have well-paid defensive lines that are not generating enough pass pressure to protect ailing secondaries.

They are living on the edge. If the Giants come home from London in two weeks at 2-5, well, let’s put it this way:

Knicks at Cavaliers, Oct. 25!