After autumn wins over South Africa and Australia last November, Ireland are the clear RBS Six Nations favourites, but their Captain O'Driscoll is keen to dampen down expectations.
"It could all go disastrously wrong if we don't win the match," said O'Driscoll. "I anticipate it being a real ding-dong match and not a lot between the teams."
O'Driscoll says that the prospect of facing Wales in Cardiff means Ireland are going to have to be at their best right from the tournament's first whistle.
"We realise how hard Wales have been to beat in Cardiff over the last few years," he said. "You can't leave it behind against Wales for the first ten or fifteen minutes. You have to start on that first whistle because they will get out of the blocks quickly and we have to match them."
O'Driscoll believes that Wales will be "quietly confident" of beating the Championship favourites.
"No one is talking them up and all the attention has been on ourselves, but they will have high expectations," he said. "Two years ago they managed to win the Slam with the fixtures the way they have fallen this year. I think that makes them even more dangerous."
With O'Driscoll's midfield partner Gordon D'Arcy hitting a rich vein of form, Ireland are a formidable unit with dynamic, experienced forwards and try-scoring backs, but Ireland's Captain says his side first have to prove they are capable of lifting the Grand Slam: "The favourites tag is just a label and we have a long way to go before we show we are good enough to win the RBS Six Nations."