Ireland have taken just one win in their opening three matches in this year's tournament, while France have lost all of their games so far.
The Ireland coach told reporters: "You can never second guess things in the Six Nations. You are constantly surprised by the way things pan out. I believe the first 20 minutes will decide things. Who settles first will be crucial.
"Against England they ran the ball and kept possession better. They had one or two chances that ran a begging but there was not much in that game between the two teams.
"Against England we set ourselves up well and got to level terms. We also put ourselves into good positions. We just needed to execute better and be more patient. Sometimes you can try too hard."
The sides meet at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow.