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New York Jets have a legit chance to take over the city from the New York Giants

Who thought they’d ever see the day when the Giants and their fans would be envious of the Jets and theirs?

This is the New York football world in which we live right now.

For the upstart Jets, who play Sunday at Chicago with a chance to even their record at 4-4 at the midway point to the season, they view this is as an opportunity to take over a city the Giants have owned since sometime after Joe Namath hung up his cleats and retired to rest his achy knees.

For the floundering 1-6 Giants, who share the NFL’s worst record with the Cardinals and 49ers entering Sunday’s home game against the NFC East-leading Redskins, this has to feel like that “Seinfeld” Bizarro episode in which everything is opposite of what it should be and always had been.

The Giants, seemingly forever, have had the upper hand on the Jets, who’ve spent most of their existence as the other team in town.
That’s changing before our eyes. For how long? Nobody can say for sure. That’s up to the Jets.

But it’s the Jets who have a roster with young, up-and-coming players and about $90 million to spend in free agency after this season.

Most importantly, it’s the Jets who have a franchise quarterback who they believe will carry them for a decade or more, while the Giants are ripping apart a veteran roster of overpaid fat cats and trying to figure out the most dignified way they can say goodbye to 37-year-old quarterback Eli Manning.

It’s the Jets, though they hardly are there yet at 3-4, who have hope while the Giants’ only hope is that this is all just a bad dream.

“We’ve got the chance to take over the city,’’ Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland told The Post on Wednesday. “I feel that 100 percent. It’s an opportunity to be the team of New York … and that would be awesome. If we win and give the fans here something to cheer about, then I don’t see why we couldn’t take over the city. And that would be a very, very exciting time to be here.’’

Copeland, in his fourth season, is one of those young players on the rise on the Jets’ roster — with two sacks, 12 QB pressures and 26 tackles.

His grandfather, Roy Hilton, played 11 seasons in the NFL as a defensive end, one of which was for the Giants in 1974. Before he played in New York, Hilton played his first nine years with the Colts and was on the team that lost Super Bowl III to the Jets.

“One of the things he always told me was, ‘There’s no place like playing in the Big Apple,’ ” Copeland said. “The Giants have been the fan favorite here. Why not us?’’

Can he see it happening with these Jets?

“I can see it, but we’ve just got to win,’’ Copeland said. “It doesn’t happen for us if we’re focusing on the big picture, because if you focus on the finish line you’ll trip on your way to the finish line. I think we can do some things that can excite these fans and give this city something to cheer about.’’

This New York changing-of-the-NFL-guard all began with the 2018 draft, when the Giants took running back Saquon Barkley with the No. 2-overall pick and the Jets, after a massive collective exhale in their “war room,’’ selected quarterback Sam Darnold at No. 3.

Right away, there were Giants fans who sensed doom as Jets fans rejoiced that they might finally have found their franchise quarterback.
Whoever thought they’d see the day when the Giants and their fans envied the Jets’ quarterback situation?

While Manning was starting 234 consecutive games (including postseason) and winning two Super Bowls (along with being named MVP in both games), the Jets were in constant, futile search of their franchise QB.

During Manning’s consecutive regular-season starts streak from 2004-17, at 210 is the second-longest in NFL history, the Jets started 13 different quarterbacks and were a model of instability.

Now, while the Giants this week have unloaded overpaid defensive tackle Damon “Snacks’’ Harrison and 2016 first-round cornerback Eli Apple, the Jets look like the team with the more stable roster on the rise.

“I’m not sure it’s going to be a quick fix,’’ Giants owner John Mara said last week.

“We’re the exciting team,’’ Jets defensive lineman Steve McLendon told The Post. “We believe. We’re just waiting for the time.’’

That time has arrived. New York is theirs for the taking. Now it’s on the Jets to seize the opportunity.

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