rbs6nations.com > Ireland
Defeat to England last time out ensured there would be no Grand Slam this year but after sizeable wins over Scotland and Wales, Ireland currently top the table on points difference.
In that regard they have a sizeable lead over England and Schmidt's side will take some catching should they win their remaining two matches against Italy and France.
Schimdt however is refusing to look beyond next Saturday's visit of Italy, insisting that while they have lost their opening three matches, they are not to be taken lightly.
"I think England are going to be the toughest team to beat without a doubt," said Schmidt.
"One of the problems for us is making sure that Italy is our full focus and that it stays that way over the next few days and next week.
"They have a very experienced, very powerful front-row and with Sergio Parisse at No.8, he's one of the world's best anchoring that set-piece.
"Across the board I don't think we'll get anything easy against Italy.
"There's a real danger that there's an expectation we'll put a 10 or 20-point margin on them.
"All we want is a margin that gives us the two points for the win, and that will be tough enough.
"We've got to put ourselves in the position to be able to win the Championship, and the only way we can do that is to beat Italy first and foremost."
Meanwhile, confusion reigns over Jonathan Sexton's fitness and availability to face Italy. On Thursday, Racing Metro stated his thumb injury would keep him out of action for between ten days and six weeks but the IRFU quickly issued a statement in response.
"The Ireland medical team have had a consultant hand specialist review Johnny and his scans," read the statement.
"The ligament damage sustained does not warrant surgery and if Johnny continues his current rate of improvement we would be confident that he will be available for selection against Italy."