In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Mail, Hansen said: "The big difference with this World Cup is the All Blacks aren't the No1 dog in the house at the moment. It will take the pressure off them.
"Not being No1 creates a hunger, and being hungry at a World Cup is good. Success dulls hunger.
"In 2007, we feared whether we had the hunger to win. After such a poor result, everyone was so hungry to be successful we won the next two.
"Going into this one, we're not the current champions. We've had some adversity in the last 12 months, which is tough to take but also helps to build a team that wants to prove to everybody they can still do it.
"New Zealand are going to be dangerous – more so than some people think."
Hansen said Ian Foster was the right man to coach the side. The players wanted him to stay, and that was important.
"I worked with him for eight years and he's a very smart rugby brain."
Despite some losses this year, the Ireland series was the only thing the All Blacks hadn't won. They were starting to build an understanding quite nicely, he said.
"Are England good enough to win the World Cup next year? They certainly are. They were just about good enough to win it last time."
A win over the All Blacks by England on Sunday (NZT) would boost their plans ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup, especially after their loss to Argentina three weeks ago.
"However, it will put a lot more on the other teams. Ireland are No1 at the moment. Their World Cup record isn't great. They'll be feeling that.
"France are at home. Their World Cup results haven't been great. They'll be feeling a lot of pressure. That pressure is going to build.
"England have had some success. They've been in three finals and won one and lost two, so they'll be beginning to think they've got to win another one."
Hansen said England should be looking at replacing Eddie Jones with Steve Borthwick when Jones' contract end.
"Eddie is a great coach. You only have to look at the teams he's coached and how they've always improved. England jointly holds the world record with the All Blacks for 18 wins in a row.
"You don't do that without being a good team and a good coaching crew. He's not shy on experimenting, and that's sometimes seen as nuts by people in England. But people have to understand that if you want to build depth, you have to throw caution to the wind sometimes.
"Eddie doesn't tolerate fools too well, and he's short sometimes. Some people don't like that but I've always found him great."
Hansen said England would be an even stronger side if there was more unity in the country's structure. The clubs and Rugby Football Union needed to work together to look after their best players.