In analyzing the Rams’ prospects for making the 2013 NFL playoffs, I believe it’s best to keep it ridiculously simple.

Here’s what the Rams must do:

Score more points.

That’s brilliant insight, I know.

Seriously, it really is a basic concept. A team’s points-scored total is a clear marker that clarifies its chances of becoming a playoff team.

I’m going to hit you with some numbers:

Over the past 10 seasons, 120 teams have made the playoffs.

The 120 teams averaged 25 points per game.

Among the 120 qualifiers only nine averaged fewer than 20 points per game.

And 73 percent averaged at least 23 points per game.

Assuming that the Rams defense plays reasonably well again this season, here’s the challenge for the 2013 Rams offense: inflate the scoring average to true-contender status.

In 2012 the STL offense made nominal progress under first-year head coach Jeff Fisher and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

The Rams averaged 18.7 points per game. That wasn’t nearly enough, ranking 25th among the 32 teams and failing to come close to the playoff-qualifier standard.

The Rams have to find a way to score about six, seven points more per game in 2013. Field goals are OK, but a pumped-up touchdown total is the fastest way for the Rams to make the leap.

Really, they’re not that far away. Over their final eight games last season the Rams averaged 20.2 points; at least they were crawling in the right direction.

Here’s how the Rams can close the points-scored gap in 2013:

1. Put more playmakers in the huddle.

It’s too soon to declare “Mission Accomplished,” but over the offseason, Fisher and GM Les Snead infused their offense with more speed and overall skill. The draft-day additions of wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey and the signing of free agent tight end Jared Cook should make a positive difference. Same with free-agent offensive tackle Jake Long.

It’s reasonable to expect improvement from the delegation of second-year and third-year players: wide receivers Chris Givens, Brian Quick and Austin Pettis and tight end Lance Kendricks.

“It’s a young group but a very fast and explosive group,” Schottenheimer said last month. “Just watching some of the playmakers we have, you see guys making one-handed catches, guys making (tacklers) miss out in space. That gets you excited.”

2. Shorten the field.

This has been a big problem. Last season the Rams ranked 31st in average starting field position. The Rams had 182 offensive possessions last season and 56 began from inside their own 20-yard line. Only four teams had more possessions originating from inside their 20.

The Rams began a drive inside the opponent’s 50-yard line 15 times; only six teams had fewer. The 12 playoff teams averaged 23 possessions that started inside the 50.

So yes, field position matters. Playing on long fields was an obvious factor in the Rams’ low number of red-zone possessions last season. They ranked 29th in the NFL with only 37 red-zone series.

This is where Austin can provide an edge. He’s a dynamic punt-return man. The Rams have to develop a more threatening kickoff-return game. We’re likely to see an extended audition this summer, with the mix including Givens, Isaiah Pead, Bailey, Chase Reynolds, etc.

3. More takeaways.

This is also part of the short-field equation. The Rams defense scored four touchdowns last season (applause) but finished 23rd with 21 takeaways. Only one team had fewer fumble recoveries than the Rams’ four.

4. More quick-strike drives.

The Rams had 27 scoring drives last season, and 22 covered 60 yards or longer. The average length of their scoring drives (8.58 plays) was the fifth-highest in the NFL. And only six teams had more 10-play drives than the Rams.

It’s difficult to navigate through long distances to score points when one mistake can wreck a drive.

The need for quick scores — lasting less than four plays — is essential. The Rams had only two quick-score touchdowns last season and only the New York Jets (with one) were worse.

5. More breakout runs.

I realize most people probably associate deep passes with big plays, but the Rams have been limited by a grinding rushing attack that lacked sting.

The Rams had only 10 runs of 20-plus yards last season, which ranked 18th. And they didn’t have a single touchdown run for 20-plus yards. (They ranked 14th with eight touchdown passes of 20-plus yards.)

The Rams have scored only one 20-yard-plus touchdown run in their past 36 games. With all due respect to the departed Steven Jackson the Rams’ new ensemble backfield — which features upgraded speed — should generate more big runs.

6. Improved efficiency in the red zone.

The Rams weren’t awful in this area last season. They scored 19 touchdowns on 37 red-zone series and that 51.4 percent TD rate ranked 19th.

Still, the Rams must do better in 2013. Here’s a reason for optimism: we witnessed genuine progress last season when the Rams scored 12 touchdowns in 19 red-zone shots (63 percent) over their final eight games.

Sam Bradford had nine red-zone TD passes (with one interception) down the stretch. And going forward, the QB will have more playmakers to create more favorable red-zone matchups.

The Rams figure to be more dangerous offensively in 2013. Several reasons: Bradford’s improvement and added experience, an enhanced group of receivers, more zip in the backfield, and more variety as Schottenheimer likely shifts to a one-back, spread-formation attack.

I’m confident that the Rams will score more points, but will it be enough to reach the established playoff-level standard?

Going into training camp, that’s my No. 1 question.