With #Eagles RB Ryan Mathews out with a concussion for Sunday, Kenjon Barner will get his first carries since 2013. Will be fascinating.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 20, 2015
This report isn't unexpected. Mathews suffered a concussion during Philadelphia's Week 10 loss and hasn't been cleared to return to practice. He hasn't even been attending the team's practice sessions, which could indicate he's not very far along in the concussion protocol.
Mathews being out is bad news for the Eagles. He's been the team's most efficient running back this season. Mathews has rushed for five touchdowns and 427 yards on 75 carries this year, which is a strong 5.7 average. Meanwhile, starting running back DeMarco Murray is averaging 3.5 yards per carry.
The Eagles need to be smart about how they split their running back carries this weekend. The team also has a game next Thursday on Thanksgiving so they presumably won't want to pound Murray into the ground this week. This is why, as Rapoport suggests, reserve running back Kenjon Barner might get some touches. Maybe Darren Sproles will be more involved on offense as well.
Football Outsiders ranks Tampa Bay's run defense as the fourth best in the league. The Eagles have their work cut out for them this week.