JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Carson Palmer wants to make sure the Arizona Cardinals are prepared for a trip to Jacksonville — and the empty seats.
The Arizona quarterback said Wednesday in a conference call that a game in Everbank Field presents "an interesting atmosphere" because the Jaguars haven't had a sellout all year and aren't expecting one at 1-8 heading into the homestretch.
"There's a totally different energy when a stadium is full if every seat is sold out," Palmer said. "And when the stadium is empty, there's a different energy. You can't worry about any of those outside distractions. You've just got to focus on doing your job each and every play and do what it takes to win the game, regardless of how many people are watching or who is in the stands."
The capacity for NFL games at Everbank Field is 67,246. The largest official attendance for a Jaguars' home game this year was 59,695 against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 29. That was tickets distributed. Actual attendance was estimated in the 50,000 range.
"I personally love playing on the road when it's loud and it's sold out," Palmer said. "You make it quieter. And I've played in stadiums where there wasn't a home field advantage and it wasn't real loud. There's good and bad in both. The crowd noise isn't a factor when it's empty, but you just don't have that same energy in the stadium. When the crowd is full and you've got to fight that crowd noise, there's a great energy in there that gets you going."
The Cardinals are 5-4 going into a critical stretch if they want to stay in the NFC playoff hunt. After the Jaguars, they return home to play Indianapolis, and they close out the season on the road against the Seattle Seahawks — that should be plenty loud — and home against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Jaguars haven't given their home fans much to cheer. Not only are they winless at home in nearly a year — the last win was against Tennessee on Nov. 25, 2012 — they haven't score a touchdown since the final home game last season.
"Our hope is to build this to where it becomes a great third-down advantage for us," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. "It's so loud that it's hard for opposing teams to come into our stadium. But we have to earn that. This is a step that we can take in the right direction."
The largest home crowd in Jaguars' history was 83,559, a record that was set this year — at Wembley Stadium in London, where Jacksonville was the home team in a 42-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.