SANTA CLARA, Calif.
— The San Francisco 49ers have the best chance to win the NFC West this season, but they’ll need to be at their best if they want to reach the postseason.
The 49ers will have a chance to make it a three-peat with a win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.
It will be the first game in a five-game homestand for the 49ers since the 2011 season, when they made the NFC Championship Game.
The 49ers are 5-3 this season against teams in the division.
If they can beat Atlanta, it would be their first playoff victory since the 2012 season.
The Falcons, who have won five of their past six games, are playing with a high-octane defense that has allowed an average of 4.4 yards per play, but the 49-7 win over Atlanta last year was the last time they faced a defense this talented.
The Atlanta defense is a top-five unit, with seven starters making the Pro Bowl.
Quarterback Matt Ryan and safety Kam Chancellor have started all 16 games for Atlanta.
The Falcons are 4-2 when Ryan and Chancellor play.
Defensive tackle Tyson Jackson has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury.
The defensive end had three sacks in Sunday’s win over Seattle.
He was also a reserve in last season’s NFC Championship game.
The Niners’ defensive line was one of the league’s best against Seattle last season.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re playing at home, because we have some talent,” 49ers coach Jim Tomsula said.
“We’ve got a lot of talent at the defensive line.
It’s a lot easier to play defense with Tyson than it is against a guy like (Rookie) Derek Barnett.”
Jackson and tackle Michael Wilhoite were among the biggest contributors to the Niners rushing attack last season, rushing for a combined 5.0 yards per carry.
The duo combined for three sacks last season and played well in both the playoffs and regular-season finale against the Arizona Cardinals.
The biggest factor against the Falcons will be safety Earl Thomas.
The veteran cornerback missed two games last season with a knee injury and has missed a total of seven games the past five seasons.
Thomas was among the first to miss last season when he was dealing with an ACL tear.
Thomas is expected to be ready for Sunday.
The Eagles are the only team in the NFC to allow a total offense of more than 230 yards per game.
It was the most in the NFL last season (265.5).
The Eagles’ run defense has allowed only one rushing touchdown in seven games.