Chris Boyd admits Exeter will be 'somewhere between firm and red-hot favourites' to beat Saints at Sandy Park on Saturday.
But the boss of the black, green and gold has urged his side to take control of their own destiny this weekend.
Saints know a win against the table-topping Chiefs will be enough to make sure of a top-four finish and set up an away play-off semi-final a week later.
But if they lose and Harlequins win at Wasps, it will be Quins who qualify for the end-of-season shoot-out.
"Whether Wasps can do a job for us or not, we can't control that, so we know we're going to finish fourth or fifth and if Wasps do a number on Harlequins we may not even need to win," Boyd said.
"But we'd like to control our own destiny so we go to Sandy Park with the determination that we do the best we can down there.
"Exeter have been one of the form teams this year, they've got a huge number of points, they've played really well, they've set the benchmark along with Saracens in Premiership Rugby for the past four or five years and they're tough to beat at Sandy Park.
"They will start the game somewhere between firm and red-hot favourites so we'll just have to go down there and do the best we can."
Exeter have not had it all their own way of late, though.
The Chiefs lost to Wasps at Sandy Park last month and were beaten 38-7 at Saracens last time out.
Meanwhile, Saints have won three successive away league games to storm into play-off contention.
And when it was suggested there must be plenty of belief in the Saints camp, Boyd said: "There is, but we also know we're coming up against a different animal, a well-oiled machine.
"What they do, they do really well.
"It's a tough place to go and they're a tough group to beat."