I've heard the explanation that the team has been successful as of late because "they have nothing to lose, so they're playing very relaxed, without any pressure."

For the people who believe that, I ask you: why does playing with nothing to lose inspire better play, when it's also the case that you're playing with nothing to gain?

And if you're playing with nothing to gain, why wouldn't you play flat, with no fire, effort, or intensity?

Please, someone explain that for me.

There was a thread here last week that expressed concern that the team would give poor effort against Oakland, because with the loss to Dallas, the playoffs are all but out of reach.

That concern is borne of the idea that, with nothing to gain, a team would give less effort.

How could it also be the case that the team would play better because it has nothing to lose?

Will the Green Bay Packers play poorly next week because they have something to lose, an undefeated season?

Will the Denver Broncos play poorly next week because they have something to lose, the final playoff spot in the AFC?

Does the pressure of having something to lose equal poor play?

If it doesn't, then how can having nothing to lose equal good play?