Michael O’Neill’s side face Russia in Moscow on Friday before returning to Belfast for a meeting with Luxembourg on Tuesday evening.
Shiels is hoping he and Gers team mate Andy Little can help their country to a strong start in what is a difficult group for his country to progress from.
He said: “In any group you want to start well. We know how tough that is going to be in Russia but I think from the two games if we could get three points it would be good.
“Four would be brilliant but we have to take them as they come and we’ll go to Russia and be positive and try to take something from it.
“We plummeted down the rankings under the last management so that doesn’t help when you go in to qualifying seeded lower.
“You get a tougher draw and we do have a difficult group coming up but we’ve shown before that we can match these countries, at home especially.
“So we’ll try to be positive around the opening games.”
Shiels is pleased to be playing his part after discussing his move to Rangers with his international manager to ensure he would still have a role to play.
He added: “Michael O’Neill knew the situation before I signed here and he’s been nothing but positive and supportive about me playing for Rangers.
“Thankfully he has picked Andy and I for the previous squad and for this double header so hopefully we can do well for both club and country.
“Andy always seems to be in the right place at the right time and that’s a gift, not luck.
“He’s taken his goals really well and long may that continue for Rangers and Northern Ireland.
You can see a full interview with Dean Shiels on RangersTV tonight.