My team plays in the Bronze division (our ranking: 1420), and we are matched up with a Gold team (their ranking: 1820). Since we are not likely to win, isn’t this going to kill our rating?

In this situation, the difference between rankings is so great that if your team loses the game, you will only lose 3 ranking points (to 1417) and the Gold team would only gain 3 ranking points (to 1823). But, if you won the game, you would gain 29 points (to 1449)! Even if you only won about 1 in 10 games, you’d still come out ahead. The key idea is that teams are not penalized for playing teams with rankings that are different from theirs; the numbers of points you would gain or lose for wins or losses just changes.