Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports



The San Francisco 49ers are not in the hunt for a playoff spot. Their slim postseason hopes evaporated weeks ago. However, the 49ers' next three opponents are in the pursuit of postseason play.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan wants his players to learn what it feels like to build a winning culture and have the intensity of a playoff team. San Francisco has won two consecutive games and three of its last four. Shockingly, the 3-10 49ers remain slight one-point favorites over their Sunday opponent – the 8-5 Tennessee Titans.

Shanahan hopes his team is in a different situation around this time next year. He hopes the 49ers are in the postseason hunt and wants his 2017 squad to treat the final three games of the season like they are playoff games.

"To be in this situation, I think it's pretty cool to play against three teams that are all fighting for everything," Shanahan said. "All three of these teams are fighting for byes or divisions, wildcards, and possibly not to even make the playoffs.

"I really, on Wednesday, tried to stress to our team, anybody who's been in that situation, they know the intensity of those buildings. I tried to explain to them every time I coached a team that we were in the hunt for the playoffs and stuff, when you get up there and you just look at a team and you start to coach, every person is just locked in, looking at you right away. They're writing everything down. I mean, people are playing for their lives.

"I told them we're going to get that from a team on Sunday and I think it's pretty cool for our team that I want us to have that intensity every time we line up. That's why I try to say they all are the same. You don't want to overreact and make things more than they are so if you look at every game like that, it gives you a chance to be successful.

"Our goal, and what we expect, is to be in that situation next year. I'd like that not to be our first time in that situation, so I don't see why our team can't treat these three games as if we're playing for our playoff lives too. We're going against teams who have to do it. It's going to be a huge challenge.

"They're going to feel an intensity from these teams, especially Tennessee on Sunday. That's probably a little more intense than what they've felt from other teams throughout this year. And I expect us to be the exact same way and to learn from that and, hopefully, we'll be in that situation next year and it won't feel like the first time we've been in it."