Eoin Reddan has warned Ireland are on a hiding to nothing against potent Pacific Island nation Samoa on Saturday.
The South Seas visitors outrank Ireland in the International Rugby Board official world standings, boasting seventh place to Ireland's eighth.
Scrum-half Reddan believes Samoa's quality is not in doubt - but fears outside expectation will not take into account the power this weekend's tourists possess.
The Leinster half-back explained: "Samoa are ranked seventh in the world and have had massive victories last year against Italy, Scotland and Wales.
"We know what we are up against this week.
"It is a tough game because it is the kind of one where within a squad you know what you are up against.
"Outside the squad, people normally don't know what you are up against, so expectations can be very high and there is a bit of a gap of what is expected and what is a reality.
"We know they are all challenges we have to deal with this week and I think we won't be looking past this week because of that.
"Samoa scored after 1:52 last year against Wales.
"There was no doubt about what they had come to do.
"From the kick-off they turned the ball over, it was all-out attack for two minutes and they scored in the corner.
"That is what we will be up against this week. They are going to come out very strong and very fast and we will have to do the same."
Reddan reckons Ireland are in the "best possible situation" to produce victories over Australia and New Zealand across the autumn schedule spectrum.
Ireland still remain winless against the All Blacks, but Limerick-born Reddan is unfazed by that record - and more concerned with helping Schmidt realise his long-term coaching plan.
Reddan continued: "It sounds very cliched, but if you want to win something in the long run, you have to get better every week and it is your performance that has to improve.
"If you play worse, but win, you sneak a few games, it will come back to bite you eventually.
"(Coach) Joe (Schmidt) gave us things that were easily identifiable to work on in the last month, even though we were back with our clubs.
"The emphasis was on your carries, your cleanouts, were you straight, how hard did you fight on the ground for the ball.
"That means what you are working on at your club is still very relevant.
"They are the kind of things that if you improve over the next 12 months, that is where you get the big, big games.
"The biggest thing for us is performance and attention to detail."